Saturday, June 14, 2008

Great Louisiana artists: the late, Lafayette-based painter Elemore Morgan, Jr

The late Elemore Morgan, Jr, won acclaim from Paris to Los Angeles as a landscape artist. He is considered one of the Bayou State's most soulful and notable artists.

A teacher at USL from 1965 to 1998, the painter was best known for rendering the rice fields of Vermilion Parish in acrylic, on masonite board.

He died last month at age 77.

Morgan is not so well known in North Louisiana. In fact, when it comes to recognizing accomplished Bayou State artists, North Louisianians seem clueless. News and background from the art worlds of Lafayette and New Orleans is not commonplace here.

SRAC brought artists from New Orleans' Jonathan Ferrara Gallery to Artspace in the post-Katrina period. And art enthusiast Rebecca Hudsmith brought a number of Lafayette-based artists to Shreveport when she operated Bistineau Gallery, her Market St spot.

One of the easiest and best sources of who's who in the southern half of the state is the La Endowment for the Humanities. The magazine Cultural Perspectives is a hugely important publication. LEH director Michael Sartisky is a superb guide to what's happening in Louisiana.

Otherwise, there's little buzz and there seems little curiosity about who's who in Louisiana art away from Shreveport-Bossier.

I hate to say it, but I've been part of the problem. Writers have the ability to broaden the agenda. We need to fight parochialism.

Recognizing Elemore Morgan, Jr's importance to Louisiana represents a start.

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